What brings you the greatest delight? It may be entertainment, your family, your children or pets or your hobbies. We are living in a time in human history where we the most self-sufficient due to the advancement of technology. We can easily get the things we want on the internet and have it delivered to us. If we want to see the world, we can purchase air tickets online and hop on the plane, and find and book accommodation through the apps on our phones. If we are bored, we can entertain ourselves, keep ourselves happy and occupied. We can do everything on our own. But do these activities give us lasting joy?
The Bible is very specific that God alone is our greatest joy and delight. The psalmist says in Psalm 16:11, “in Your presence, there is fullness of joy”. In God’s presence, there is joy so deep and so satisfying that we can not find anywhere else. In the psalm that follows, Psalm 17, the psalmist wrote, “because I am righteous, I will see You. When I awake, I will see You face to face and be satisfied” (Psalm 17:15). God is near to the righteous.
God chose a man named Saul to be Israel’s first king. However, instead of obeying God’s commandments, Saul was relying on his logic. Because of his disobedience, God removed him from the kingship and gave it to a man whom God said had a heart like His own— King David. King David adored Jesus Christ as his greatest satisfaction, joy and delight.
Our Human Heart
In the medical world, our heart is “the muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body.” It pumps blood into every area of our bodies. In Biblical terms, however, our heart is more than a muscle; it is who we really are. Our heart is the wellspring of our life.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Our heart is the place where you connect with God and connect with other people. Everything we want to achieve in life: our desires, our passions, our dreams, flow from our heart. Everything we are: the words we say, our thoughts, and the things we do when we are alone, all these come from the heart.
How can we have a healthy heart?
Let’s look at this list: brother, son, musician, worship leader, warrior, general, king, poet, outlaw, adulterer, murderer, shepherd, husband, father, leader, hero, ancestor of Jesus Christ…this list is about a man. He is a powerful man, a man gifted in music and battle but at the same time, he was also an adulterer and a murderer.
David realised how serious his sin was. He was filled with lust, anger and jealousy. David repented and asked God to cleanse his heart.
David specifically prayed in Psalm 51, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight (vv 2-4). Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (verse 7). Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (verse 10)”
The reason he has a heart after God’s is because he genuinely repented of his sins. Every one of us had committed sins. We are not perfect. Some of us may be still holding on to our sins. Let us remember that our sins do not define us. We need to face the consequences of our sins, like David did but we also can receive forgiveness from God like David did.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9, NLT). If we are truly repentant, God will forgive us and cleanse us from our sins.
When we are so broken by sin, we will realise we have nothing apart from God. We can’t even save ourselves. We are helpless. When we acknowledge we have nothing, and put our trust in Jesus, Jesus will be our greatest delight. He forgives us and helps us to start all over again.
(2) Delight in the Lord
The second thing we can pray for our hearts is that it will seek God as the greatest joy and delight in our hearts.
George Müller (27 September 1805 – 10 March 1898) was a Christian evangelist and the director of the Ashley Down orphanage in England. During his life time, he cared for 10,024 orphans and provided educational opportunities for the orphans. He established 117 schools that offered Christian education to more than 120,000 children, many of whom were orphans.
Despite being busy running orphanages and caring for these children, he said, the first and most important duty of his day was to get his heart happy in God—-through reading the Bible and praying. His first priority was not to make them the teachers or the orphans happy. His first priority was to make his heart happy in God first, before he could face the challenges of the day.
King David’s heart was happy in the Lord. Even when he faced challenges and his enemies were trying to kill him, he found his greatest joy and satisfaction not on his circumstances but in the Lord. In difficult and dangerous circumstances, he could still sing praises to God.
Many of these psalms reveal to us his heart, which is him delighting in God’s Law. God’s Word encouraged him through the toughest times. He held on to the unchanging, unfailing promises of God. He meditated and thought about God’s Word, and his heart was happy in the Lord because of these.
“Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.” (Psalm 112:1 NLT).
Sometimes we make our problems so big that it is like a tsunami crashing down on us. When our problems is too big, we see God as too small.
Making God our delight need not have to be dependent on our situations. How many of us think our day is ruin by some careless words someone said to us or angry emails from colleagues? Our circumstances in life do not determine our joy. Our level of joy does not depend on how others treat us. Do we say that if we have a better job, we will be happy? People and circumstances do not determine how happy we should be. Make our heart happy in God because the joy of the Lord is our strength.
The Psalmist of Psalm 43 was in a time of darkness. His soul was downcast. He had been crying out to God, waiting for him to rescue him from wicked people. He was waiting for God to answer his prayers and even felt that God was not answering his prayers.
Instead of getting angry at God or throwing a pity-party for himself, the psalmist he picked up his harp and sang to the Lord, “You are my joy and my delight” (Psalm 43:4)
He sang to God, “You are my joy and my delight” even at a time when he was oppressed by wicked people and felt rejected by God.
Our circumstances do not dictate our joy. But we will be happy when we secure ourselves with God’s Word. God loves us. Nothing can ever separate His love from us. He is with us. He watches over us.
We can delight in the Lord by doing these things:
- Pray and Praise God
- To remind us Who God is
- David is grateful for what God has done. Again and again in different psalms, he thanked God for what He had done. Keep track of all the answered prayers and the blessings we have receive from God and the things that we are grateful for
- Honour the Lord’s Day
- Worshipping God on Sundays
- Come to God with a heart of expectancy. Expect that God will speak and reveal Himself to us through His Word, worship songs and worship services.
- Recognise Jesus as your greatest treasure
- Nothing in the world lasts or stands the test of time but in Jesus, we will be satisfied
(3) Dependency upon God
In Psalm 18:2, David said of the Lord, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.”
Throughout his life, David depends fully in the Lord. When he was a young boy, he depended on God for victory against his fight with Goliath, the Philistine army whom the Israelites were frightened of.
Later on in his life, David also depended on God. Psalm 25 showed us his dependence upon God in the midst of all of his own sins; when his heart ached and the consequences he had to face; the conflict, the sin, the unbelief all around him; the unjust attacks upon him and upon the name of God. Everything happened to him all at once but he depended on God.
Corrie ten Boom is a hero to people who grew up after World War II. She and her family helped Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. And they saved about 800 lives. Her life was a legacy of godliness and wisdom. She had been arrested and sent to the concentration camp. And she survived to tell her story of dependence on God during those years of suffering. In 1971, she wrote the book, “The Hiding Place” which talked about her experiences.
Corrie once said, “I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that, I still possess.”
Throughout her life, Corrie experienced losses: she lost her family, her sister who was arrested and was sent to concentration camp with her died in the camp, she lost her possessions and lost years of her life. Yet, she learned to keep the best things in life: things that were gained spiritually and emotionally by putting everything in the hands of her Heavenly Father. What should we place in God’s hand? Your family? Your future? Everything?
Depend on God, we will not lack or be in want as He has promised us in His Word. Pray that God will help us to depend on Him, for our daily provision, for wisdom in our daily living, and to depend on Him as the supreme joy in our lives.
David makes mistakes too but he sincerely wanted to follow God’s commandments and live a life pleasing to Him. Only God can fill the hole in our hearts. If we look for fulfilment elsewhere apart from God, we will not be satisfied for very long. To make Jesus as our greatest delight, (1) repent deeply for the sins of our lives, (2) make our hearts happy in the Lord, (3) make our heart the dwelling place and depend on God for everything in our lives.